Making your coaching business recession proof

Sai Blackbyrn offers some advice on how to keep your coaching and training business ticking over in the current lean times.

News reports revealing that the UK economy is now in recession for the first time in over a decade will invariably spark further fear and uncertainty in many coaches and training organisations. As if the past few months haven’t been hard enough, it seems the road to business recovery is likely to remain rocky to say the least.

However, there are steps that all coaches and trainers can take to help recession-proof their business, and this starts with addressing a few fundamental questions.

Do you practice what you preach?

Many coaches sell dreams of fulfilment, work-life balance, implementing boundaries and more, yet fail to follow these rules in their own lives and businesses. I’ve worked with moe than a hundred coaches long enough to see that one of the most common issues they face is the failure to practise what they preach.

Being able to address a number of key concerns within one offering could enable you to reach new markets and secure contracts

The world is going through yet another time of transition, which provides you with the perfect opportunity to address these discrepancies and reset, ready for the journey ahead. 

Are you self-sabotaging?

It astounding how some of the most promising coaches and trainers simply never seem to achieve their dreams or goals. It isn’t for a want of trying, and if the world was based on fairness, then they certainly deserve to achieve them; something is always holding them back though.

Coaches and trainers often help individuals and organisations to work through ‘blockages’ or ‘invisible barriers’ that are preventing them from excelling, yet it is highly likely that these same coaches are letting their own internal barriers stop them from progressing too.

Whether it’s a case of Imposter Syndrome preventing you from pitching to larger clients for fear you’ll be rejected, or social conditioning making you think you’ll only ever be worth so much, so you keep avoiding that discussion with a legacy client over increasing fees, the prospect of a recession does not give you the green light to carry on doing what you’ve always done.

It’s going to be harder now, so you’ve got to be more focused, more determined and ready to break through your own personal barriers. 

Are you agile enough?

Coaching and training by its very nature is reactive and needs to be agile enough to adapt to whatever the most pressing challenges are right now. During the COVID-19 lockdown, coaches and trainers that were able to switch to delivering their services online were best primed to continue working as the vast majority of ‘offline’ coaches saw their programmes cancelled with immediate effect.

However, many coaches were able to grow their coaching businesses during lockdown as a result of harnessing their online services.

Whether it’s adapting one of your existing courses to make it more relevant to covid-19 induced remote working, streamlining your programme to cut costs and make it more affordable for clients to retain you during difficult trading times, or investing in additional training or certifications to give you a competitive edge, having a flexible business model is essential if you are looking to respond quickly to the uncertainty that lies ahead. 

Is it time to partner up?

While advocating niche coaching, this doesn’t mean that you can’t partner up with other coaches or trainers whose skills or offerings complement your own. Being able to address a number of key concerns within one offering could enable you to reach new markets and secure contracts which would have been unattainable on your own.

When markets are in recession, organisations are often looking to cut costs wherever possible, so being ready to offer something which is not only fit for purpose, but more affordable than their current provision is likely to be a winning formula for success. 


About the author

Sai Blackbyrn is a best-selling author, coach and trainer at .Coach



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